So, let’s look at three popular ways of owning bonds:
• Individual bonds —When you buy an individual bond, you will receive predictable interest payments. And when your bond matures, you’ll get the original principal back, unless the issuer defaults, which is not common in cases of “investment grade” bonds. However, the value of your bond — the price you could get for it if you sold it on the open market before it matured — will fluctuate over time, primarily in response to interest rates. (When market rates go up, the value of your bond drops, and vice versa.) In general, you’ll pay at least $5,000 for an individual bond, though that amount may vary. Consequently, while this approach gives you more control, it can be more time consuming and require a larger investment in order to build a diverse fixed-income portfolio.